The weekend is finally over and we're in the last final days before UCLA football finally returns after its summer hiatus. So, to get you through the dreaded Mondays, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse. This Monday, there's a handful of notes about the football program and continued negative press due to the very real possibility that Gene Block's UCLA has sanctioned official fiscal abuse at the highest levels. So, let's take a look at those Bruin Bites to start Monday:
- Beginning with football, Dave Campbell with the Associated Press covered the transition between two former UCLA punters for the Minnesota Vikings, as newly-drafted Jeff Locke came in, with the Vikes showing fellow Bruin Chris Kluwe the door. The not-so-subtle subtext for the Vikings is that Kluwe, with his outspoken personality, strident views, and off-field pursuits (a band and a lot of World of Warcraft) had become too much of a distraction at a position that is traditionally seen-and-not-heard. Let's hope Chris catches on with another team, and we have no doubt that Locke will fill in very well in Minnesota, just as he did in Westwood.
- While fall football camp in San Bernardino doesn't officially begin practice until August 7, the Bruins got out to the Inland Empire early, with members of the squad visiting kids at Loma Linda's Children's Hospital this past Thursday. Hopefully, our guys can keep doing this kind of great outreach when they have time between practices.
- Jeremy Fowler at CBS Sports discussed the frequency of high school football stars switching positions in the college game to prime their chances in the NFL Draft. The top example in his piece? Our very own stand-out OLB hit-machine, former under-utilized RB/F/TE hybrid Anthony Barr. Fowler is pretty soft and forgiving on former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, giving the coach who misused Barr for two seasons a nice softball excuse. But since we like Rick as a person, we can let that one slide. After all, the man did win us a Rose Bowl as a QB.
- Turning to the academic side of the university, the fall-out from the Center for Investigative Reporting's piece on UCLA's exorbitant travel expenses for certain top-tier university officials, through the use of a flimsy and ripe-for-abuse "medical waiver" exemption, continues to mount, with The Desert Sun now focusing in on the story. As the story spreads from one newspaper to another, the heat will surely begin to rise for Gene Block, who has not exactly been stellar when it comes to holding people accountable.
- Even smaller, local California newspapers are picking up on the story, and the reaction is telling. TheMonterey County Herald published an editorial this weekend that blasted UCLA, the weak official explanation/response to the article, and even going one step further, singling out our tone-deaf and out-of-touch chancellor for his $10,000 budget for regular limousine use. As more outlets pick up on this, you have to wonder if the alumni base throughout California will start hanging up the phone more often when those kids from UCLA call asking for donations. After all, if Gene can afford $10K for comfy limo rides, why does he need my money?
Alright folks, those are your various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse, as we launch into another work week, although one that will soon be full of football news, practice updates, and pre-season hype. Fire away with your comments, additions, and various opinions on all things UCLA in the comment thread.